Vic schools close after virus teacher case

At least four Melbourne schools have closed as Victorian authorities race to trace the movements of a COVID-19 positive teacher.

A female teacher from Al-Taqwa College in Truganina was diagnosed on Wednesday and may have been infectious in the community for a week.

The school has been temporarily closed with more than 2000 students and 300 staff ordered to get tested and self-isolate.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the school said it would be locked down for 14 days and classes conducted online until August 18, unless the health department advised otherwise.

The Ilim College and Australian International Academy campuses as well as the Islamic College of Melbourne (ICOM) at Tarneit in Melbourne’s west were also shut on Thursday as a precaution. 

In separate letters, the three schools reassured parents that none of their students or staff had tested positive so far.

“There are many primary contacts at ICOM who may have been in contact with the Al-Taqwa positive confirmed case,” one said.

The Al-Taqwa teacher, aged in her 20s, is currently isolating and being interviewed by contract tracers and with urgent investigations are underway into how she contracted the virus.

She lives in the Hobsons Bay area with her husband, who was also undergoing testing on Wednesday night.

Victoria’s COVID-19 Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said the woman became symptomatic at the end of last week and may have been infectious in the community for a week before testing positive.

“The 28th, 29th, and 30th (of July) – we’re assuming that’s the point in time when she may have been infectious,” he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

The college has been listed as a tier-one exposure site across those three days, while a Coles at Yarraville is a tier-two site for specific times on July 29.

Mr Weimar said some exposure sites listed in the Hobsons Bay area might be a connection point for the woman’s infection.

Al-Taqwa College was a significant location for transmission in last year’s second wave.

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of Victora recording 725 cases, the highest daily number of infections in its deadly second wave of the virus.


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